Eastbourne MP asks rail bosses to put the brakes on staff changes

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has called on rail bosses to halt planned changes to staff in a bid to spare rail passengers more misery.

The operator wants to introduce driver-only operation and change the role of conductors to onboard supervisors in a move that has sparked a dispute with the RMT, resulting in a series of strikes.

There have also been cancellations of trains due to staff sickness.

Mrs Ansell said the service is ‘utterly unacceptable’ and passengers are at their ‘wits’ end’.

“I understand this is not all Govia Thameslink’s fault, because it is also the fault of a lack of investment over decades, Network Rail’s poor fault response times and the redevelopment of London Bridge,” she said.

“But this dispute is not helping as it is causing, in my view, a bad situation to become worse.

“Calls for Govia to be stripped of their franchise is understandable but just not practical. Everyone needs to be working together to make this terrible situation better and we need to be mindful of what we wish for.

“If Govia goes, what replaces it? Who is standing ready to step in? How will a painful transition improve the situation? And will it make a rapid difference to beleaguered passengers right now?

“I am meeting with Govia today where I will spell out my position. I hope they will consider it and I will be asking them if they have the capability to run this franchise until 2021.”

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